The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Feather your Nest Friday, 11 May, 2018.

We had a busy week!  Also we had rain both here and at the farm so it is wonderful.

It is lucky I write things down as already I had forgotten things I did last Friday and Saturday and I had got the new week off to a good start!

Over the weekend I started some card making.  With three rose books to use and my supplies it was easy to make up sets of themed cards.

I made almost thirty so I can package some up as gifts and use others myself for Birthdays etc.  Now that cards have gone over $10 to buy this is even more of a saving then ever as they are under a dollar to make. 

Being colder I did lots of cooking.   I had a spaghetti sauce cook up then I made Lasagna and Pasta Bakes.  I gave two Lasagna to Allie as she cleaned our gutters and this was our trade.  She was happy!
I put one in the freezer for Chloe when she comes which is today!

This gave us several meals as well.

I cut up a big pumpkin and added sweet potatoes and onions and made soup.

Then I froze single serves.   I add Turmeric to my soups now for added benefits.

I made pink playdoh with purple glitter for Harper.

The crockpot helped again with a leg of lamb.   Just now a leg of lamb is a good buy.   It goes into the slow cooker with as many veggies as I can get around it.  Some thyme, some mint jelly and pepper.

Later in the day when things have cooked down a bit there is more room and then I add peas, broccolini etc.   This was beautiful and made several meals.

I made 21 banana cup cakes.  A dozen went with me to see the girls.

Out came the endlessly recycled cake toppers!

I taught Harper the art of  getting extra icing sugar by tipping your are upside down and dipping it into the icing on the tray.   She caught on quick to this...

This occupied a good half hour of baby sitting time! 

I made up some essential oil rollers for Lucy who is now rather interested too.   I am fining my supplies are giving me both gifts and trade-able items too!  To someone starting out having someone to make a blend or a roller is a skill and helpful to them.  So that was fast, I knew nothing and now I can help others get started! 

I always study every catalogue that comes in the mail.  This finds me some amazing things!  This week a Supermarket up the road had pork roasts for $3.99 a kilo and around here I haven't seen prices like that for years.  So on Wednesday (which was the first available day) off I went.   They were great.  I mentally calculated my freezer space and Mums!  I stocked up.  When I got them loaded in the car I felt like in the IKEA add where the lady shouts "start the car! start the car!" lol

A couple of weeks ago I turned my $50 voucher into $150 free hair care.  Every time I go to Coles I notice they have still been clearing shampoo, conditioner and hair lines.  Yesterday as usual I checked and it must be coming to an end as now they had some great brands for $1.  The new lines are out on display and things have gone up dramatically.  I got Shampoo and Conditioner for Chloe that in their new packaging are now $15 each.  I paid $3.   I got some for Andy that is also now $15 each and paid $2.  There were many that are around $8 and I got them for $1.   I stocked up.  I refuse to pay $15 for a shampoo!   With my docket at home I worked out my savings.... $287! 
When Chloe gets here today I have some for her, they are luxury products and she has waist length hair...  so happy!

I am counting $100 also for making and sending all work lunches and drinks.

I haven't added up my Vicky Challenge yet.  I have all my numbers and I need to add up the last few weeks! 

Today Chloe is coming and we are going to a wedding dress fitting!
Then tonight Chloe and Luke are having dinner with us.  As I will be out most of the day I have Lamb Shanks and potatoes, pumpkin, sweet potato and onions in the slow cooker.  Tonight I will just steam some greens and dinner will be ready.  The weather is cold!  This will be a good meal.   For Lamb Shanks I just pour over a jar of tomato pasta sauce... it miraculously becomes a rich gravy. Done! 

How did you save, get ahead and build up your home this week?
Have a wonderful weekend.  xxx


  1. Dear Annabel, what a magnificent week! Abundance awaiting everywhere you look! Those cake toppers...what a winner! And the pork roasts...brilliant! I'm with you on the clearance and half price at Coles. Great way to triple or quadruple the value of your Flybuys points! I had a better than average week too. Lots of card making, different to yours, but still a saving for sure. A few marked down trays of mince giving us Chilli con Carne, meatloaf and Lasagna for next to nothing really. A whole lasagne, gluten free too, cost me $6 to make. The meatloves $3 each, and the Chilli which we'll use for tacos, burritos and nachos, about $10 for four meals worth. So that was a huge saving. I made my own laundry detergent, gluten free cake mix, and embroidered some gifts for upcoming birthdays. A solid week. Well done to you again. Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi,
      There is nothing better than a cook up except a bargain buys cook up! This all sounds beautiful. It will go a long way too.
      I think I better see if you have the GF cake mix on your blog.... this would be a winner! Have a beautiful weekend. We both had big weeks! With love and thanks,

  2. What a great week you have had Annabel. It's lovely seeing little Harper growing up so fast. She's 3 this month isn't she? I can't believe how fast time is flying. IT is very cold and wet here and I am sitting under one of those old fashioned with fringing around the base of the lamp shade, tall lamps in a big old leather chair in front of the fire. Two dogs snoring gently. It's just lovely to sit and relax. I hope the wedding dress fitting goes well. Very exciting for you to do with Chloe. Didn't know her hair was that long, I wonder if it will be up or down for the wedding. Looking forward to seeing photos when the time comes. Have a good weekend, stay dry. Fi xx

    1. Dear Fiona,
      Yes Harper is three tomorrow! I love your fireside setting! That would be so nice!
      The wedding dress fitting was good things are coming along nicely:) I cant wait actually... cant tell secrets but I will post half a million wedding photos lol! Have a beautiful weekend there! With love

  3. Hi Annabel and beautiful bluebirds :).

    Your homemade cards are divine and the soup looks lovely. That is the way to do it is cook in bulk as it saves so much on electricity costs. Harper is having way to much fun with the icing sugar :) but a great way to keep children occupied too.

    Here also it has been cold and the perfect time for cooking and we had 10.8mm rain yay! and our rain water tanks are almost topped again.

    Our Vicky challenge added up to $78.63 in savings last week.

    Finances -
    - Banked more money into our saving for our home deposit bank account bringing us to 25.25% of the way there.
    - Made $21.21 from the sale of a bread bag and saved seeds from the gardens which I banked to recoup some pantry stocking expenditure from February.
    - Listed 10 handmade items on eBay using a free listing promotion saving $16.50 on usual listing fees.

    Purchases -
    - Found 3 chicken Maryland on 50% off special for $3kg saving $4.63 on usual prices.

    Sewing and crafts -
    - Cut out another 2 bread bags and sewed half of 1.

    In the kitchen -
    - Made 8 more jars of marmalade in the bread maker weighing 3.664kg from free gifted lemons and oranges saving $43.46 over purchasing an equivalent quality marmalade in the supermarkets.
    - Made 1.08lts of lemonade concentrate from free lemons and free honey we get from having our friends bee hives here saving $5.04 over purchasing it in the shops. We froze it and can use this for winter cold and flu season drinks or it will be enough to make 9lts of cordial.

    Hope everyone has had a wonderfully frugal week and found some bargains to save in their budgets too.


  4. Annabel I just saw pork roasts on special when I was out. I rarely cook a roast as I don't like to use the oven too much but perhaps I should try one in the slow cooker as you seem to have so much success with yours. I usually only cook soup in mine. I have about $72 in Flybuys points so will let them add up till Christmas in case the family happens to make the trek down from the Outback. I don't have freezers to store anything much apart from in the fridge. Have a lovely time with Chloe and Luke.

  5. Havent seen any shampoo specials at all in our local Coles shop which was a pity. At work after meals the staff wipe down the tables and then throw the chux into the bin, I took 6 out of the bins brought them home a soak in vinegar then thru the wash cycle and we now have dish clothes. Saves me buying them then when there days are over I use them to line hanging baskets so they never make land fill.

    Got a great deal on the half price chickens at coles for $2.90 a kilo I bought 3 and am roasting 1 tonight the others I jointed and will use for various meals over time. Found some bags of spuds marked down to $1.40 for 2 kilos. I cashed in $20 from my surveys and have another $90 to use not sure just yet what I need. I am trying to make $400 before I go away in august for spending money.

    Planted some free plant cutting, and while I have the oven on tonight will dry the bread scraps out for breadcrumbs and will make a batch of chicken stock with all my chicken scraps in the freezer.

    Getting closer to July 1st when the pay cuts start but I have to say I'm planning ahead, stocking up, just staying calm and saying I will survive! Leanne

  6. I did all the usual things this week and saved in various areas. The big savings happened yesterday. Katie and I went to a Lifeline Bookfest. I was expecting books only, but I found out they had clothes, material, manchester and a huge amount of toys as well. I spent $70 but came home with goods that would have cost $300 or more.
    Katie picked up 5 Uni text books for $15. Each of these text books is $50 or more new. Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Several of her Uni friends were going up today to see if they could score some cheap text books as well.
    Bluey has soft flannel shirts for when it cools down. I have over 20m of fabric for various sewing projects. I have four doona covers for market bags. I've added to my medicinal library and my sewing library. The Grandies have Birthday and Christmas gifts all sorted and put away. For a $70 spend I have added so much to my household.
    This week I also made soap for our home. I am using up the various colours and scented oils that I have. This soap is blue, purple and white swirls. I put some of the soap batter in some bear moulds. These will be gifts for little people.
    Bluey sold one of his lazy susans and received an order for one to be made to a particular size. It is looking like this might be a good little sideline. He has almost finished the kitchen cabinet that he has been renovating. Cant wait to show the finished cupboard as it is stunning.
    Enjoy your weekend Annabel and Bluebirds. Life is good.

    1. Jane
      Did you get my email? Cookie

    2. Jane, those little teddy bear soaps sound just beautiful. Well done to Bluey and congratulations on the sales of his lazy susans. Well deserved! They are beautiful. You both make beautiful things. Love, Bridge

    3. What a lovely week, Annabel. I love the sound of Chloe and Luke coming and being with her for the dress fitting. What a special time. And how lovely after a big day like that to have dinner ready and warm for when you come home. Ah bliss! Harper's smile is just so beautiful! She looks so happy. How nice to be spending time with you. The best things in life! We have had a quiet week, but I have kept up with cleaning and the Mother'sDay gifts are made (with the help of Henry and Tommy) and will make some biscuits tomorrow to finish them. Lots of love, Bridge P.S. Great job on finding the roast porks and the hair care products...I need to keep an eye out :)

    4. How wonderful Bluey sold his first lazy susan tell him congratulations from us :). It all helps to bring additional income into all of our homes.

      We too have a few side gigs that help tremendously.


    5. Dear Jane, You had an amazing week. I loved the book sale and your finds. Also I think it is fantastic about Blueys sales. His work is wonderful. I am totally all for having side lines and home businesses. As you know!
      Have a very Happy Mothers Day! It is a perfect day here just lovely. With love

  7. Annabel,
    You had a very productive and economical week. How wonderful that you were able to add to your meat stock so affordably. The lamb roast looks lovely, so envious that lamb is so affordable down there, here it starts at $15+ per pound.

    Harper looks so happy and content to sit and try to get all the icing sugar on her cupcake, she is growing so fast.

    Enjoy your time with Chloe and Luke, hoping that the dress fitting goes well and you do not tire out from a busy weekend.

    I didn't add much to my home pantries this week, I elected to stay home and do more Spring Cleaning. I accomplished finishing the laundry room. You will laugh though, I took all but 2 Bibles and 6 Classics out of my living room, leaving me 56 books to carry down to my library room (Just a room in basement). But now my whole living level is show presentable.
    I also was able to spend time in basement and clean and reorganize to make it more presentable. I just can't wait for outdoor furniture to be taken out to patio so I can mop the floors. I can sweep but can't move the furniture to mop by myself.
    I concentrated on Spring Cleaning and we only made one trip to grocery store to maximize coupon offers. So I did add a few items to pantry, but not as well as you did.

    Hoping you have a lovely weekend with Chloe and Luke!
    Love, xxx

    1. Dear Rosanne, Lamb can be kind of ridiculous here too. But a bit better than that mostly!
      I am glad you got to stay home and do your Spring Cleaning. Well done! I think I have done a good job keeping half a dozen medical books! I would probably faint if I saw your library! You are very organised and have great supplies.
      I hope spring keeps thing since for you and you can enjoy your outdoor furniture and garden. Lovely! Thank you we have had a good day with Chloe and Luke, a lovely dinner and successful wedding dress fitting! Have a good weekend! With love

  8. So many ways Your creativity actually saves (and sometimes earns) money for your hoysehold, Annabel! And Jane- congratulations on Bluey’s lazy Susan sales! So many people are seeing the value of hand crafted things but would rather pay to have someone else do the handcrafting! Perfect timing for some side jobs for those willing to jump in and create!! Well done!!

    I flew to CA on Tuesday courtesy of a plane ticket from daughter and son-in-law! They brought me here to mentor and teach them how to buy, prepare and store food/meals! My daughter actually took notes when I was going over some basic food purchasing techniques to save money and build up their pantry!
    Then we made batches of apple cinnamon cooked oatmeal cups, sausage,egg and cheese breakfast burritos, French toast sticks and baked omelet cups for easy breakfast options to have in freezer! We also made up 3 chicken freezer meals and put 7 pounds of chicken breast in crockpot to cook up, shred and package for freezer for easy meals! All this was yesterday while walking her first grader to school and back (2 round trips) and taking preschooler to speech therapy for an hour! Today, we’ll prepare another 10 pounds of chicken breast from her freezer into convenience meals! She wants to have options that streamline breakfasts and dinners for her family of 3 little ones 7 and under and hubby ! She is seeing the $$$ savings that just a little planning and preparation ahead can give!! I am thrilled to be helping!

    While I’ve been gone, Dave sold another 4 dozen eggs which brought in another $10!
    He is also finishing another wedding tray order for a client and Jared st needs to do the final monogramming on it!
    Through savings on things and earnings, I have been able to pay down $1400 in just one month from Dave’s heart surgery bill! I had committed to paying $219/month but this is getting reduced much faster! Only about $5600 to go!
    I may have Dave buy pineapples that are on sale at home for 99 cents each and I can can up pineapple chunks for our daughter whose husband was in the hospital for almost 3 weeks and is still having dialysis 3x a week! She is back to working full time since he is on disability for 3 months before the doctors will let him go back to even light duty work. She had mentioned that they were getting lower on those!
    What a gift to be able to find positive and joyful ways to feather our nests!!

    1. Gardenpat I am so happy your side gigs have allowed you to pay off so much off your husbands heart surgery bill what a blessing.

      You are so knowledgeable on food preparation and making a dollar stretch that you will be an invaluable knowledge base to your daughter and son in law.


    2. Dear Gardenpat, I have to see this wedding tray and I cant find your sideline fb page! If you see this post it to your personal page or a link. Thanks! You are doing so well with the eggs and also paying off that medical bill.
      I would love to be there with you as you teach shopping, preparation and food storage! This would be wonderful. Also how fantastic they want to learn and you are there teaching them. Lovely. Just abut all of us here would turn up for a class run by you especially after seeing your pantry and food storage! These are skills that are not so common now and most people are in serious trouble if the power or anything else goes out after three days!
      I am sure you loved your time with your daughter too and what she learns will have a big impact on her own family and grand children. Wonderful I think! With love,

    3. HandmadeinOldeTowne is our Facebook business site. There is a photo of a wedding tray we did several months ago which is similar to the one we are finishing right now.
      Here are some of the display shelves/crates we made for our soap vendor friend:
      We also made this soap bar cutter for her:

    4. HandmadeinOldeTowne is our Facebook business site. There is a photo of a wedding tray we did several months ago which is similar to the one we are finishing right now.
      Here are some of the display shelves/crates we made for our soap vendor friend:
      We also made this soap bar cutter for her:

  9. What a treat to have kids home for dinner. Enjoy your time and the dress fitting. Wonderful memories!

    We have been at the lake for a full week and another to go. Lots of sleep, reading, movies and sitting outside by the water. We have hardly left the house. I brought almost all of the food from my home stockpile so we haven't even had to shop. We are so blessed to have this place. The family who built this house 40 years ago were passing through the area last weekend and the mother and one son stopped to see the house. They told us the father and 3 sons built this house from the ground up and lived here in a tent all summer while they worked. Now we appreciate this house even more with knowing all the hard work that built it. Sadly the father died last year so he never came back to see it again after 30 years.

    Have a great weekend all!

    1. Dear Lana,
      Your time sounds just lovely. I just emailed you actually.... I will tell you as for whatever reason my email puts your emails into my junk box no matter what I have tried! So I hope you get mine!
      Your house sounds so glorious to me. I dont think I would want to leave. How good to have such breaks. Very beneficial I should think! With much love

  10. Hi Annabel and everyone,

    Annabel, those rose cards are gorgeous! You did wonderful with all of the cooking and meat prices this week.

    This last week was a little staycation for us for our anniversary. We spent some time in the mountains and did some more birdwatching - we saw black vultures this week! (They are prettier than they sound.)

    We visited the library "better book" sale and found some treasures. I paid $2 for a cross-stitch book that is $25 in the store, so am really pleased!

    We put in our veggie garden this past week: peas, two kinds of squash, melons (I hope they grow!), cucumbers, radishes, beets, and herbs.

    Today we are going to the botanical garden (free admission) - it is so fun to take advantage of these things in our area.

    I hope everyone has a great weekend!

    1. Dear Kathy,
      Thank you! I kept going on the cards and got heaps made!
      Happy anniversary! The mountains and birds sound just perfect to me! I have never seen black vultures. Actually I have never seen a vulture! Here we have Wedge Tailed Eagles and they build nests at the farm. I dont know the size comparison so I will look that up!
      Well done on getting the veggies in! I hope you get a great crop!
      Your week overall sounds just beautiful! Have a lovely weekend also! With love,

  11. Hi Annabel and Bluebirds,
    It has been a couple of months since I last posted. It has been a difficult time but things are now much improved. I have resigned from my job, which had become an unhealthy and unhappy place to be. I have been able to do this because of living a simple life and have the financial resouces that allow this choice before securing another job. I am so thankful for this. I will have a couple of weeks holiday and then begin to work on a day-to-day basis.
    I have been reading each post over these past couple of months and they have been a real tonic for me. I enjoy reading everyones comments and feel like I know you all so well. I really want to thank everyone. Reading about your lives and what you do to save and enjoy life in a resourcesful and meaningful way has given me confidence in my decision.
    Annabel your granddaughters are delightful. Exciting times in your family with the wedding plans. Chloe's hair sounds beautiful. I can only dream of such hair. It used to bug me as a teanager in the 80's when all those glam rockers had better hair than me. I long since made my peace with this.

    Have a wonderful weekend everyone and happy Mothers day for all the mums.


    1. Dear Mandy,
      I am really sorry you have had such a hard time. I am glad you are away from it! Thank you for telling me you are reading and that it is good for you. The ladies here never fail to encourage and very generously too.
      Chloe had long hair, we never cut hair until much older. Lucy has never cut Harper's hair either. It is down to her waist too now (at 3) oh I love it! All curls! But then Chloe hut it short at one time as an adult and an experiment... and started again! Her long hair is just her.
      I feel like I know so many here so well. Many have become such good friends and my encouragement. Many real life friendships have been formed between Bluebirds too! Over the next weeks I have lots to share which is exciting! You will love it I think!
      Take care and I hope things improve now for you. Have a lovely weekend! With love

  12. Dear Annabel and Bluebirds,
    You surely did have a busy and productive week. Spending time with your beautiful granddaughters, wedding dress fitting and dinner together must have been great fun. The rose cards are lovely! As always, your lasagne, cupcakes and soups look delicious. The hair care buys were a great find!

    We celebrated my husband's birthday fairly quietly, but did take one daughter and one granddaughter out to celebrate. Our granddaughter is graduating from high school in a few days and will be heading away to college at the end of summer. We also picked up a couple free desserts and a discounted sampler platter at favorite restaurants for my husband's birthday.

    We, mostly my husband, have finished adding a new watering system to my container garden. I've been refreshing some of the pots and transplanting some of the plants such as iris I have from my dad and vincas that self seeded. Everything seems to be thriving with better watering. My husband has also been making repairs on our block wall and saved us well over a thousand dollars.

    One of the grocery stores has had a contest going along with offering something free most weeks. I've recently gotten 2 1-1/2 quart cartons of ice cream, a pound of quality ground beef, a half pound of grated cheese, 3 packages of buns, 7 small cans tomato sauce, 2 bottles of 100 aspirin, a travel pack of ibuprofen, 9 packets of gravy or taco seasoning, a can of tomatoes, $5 off any purchase, 7 individual packs of almonds, 2 donuts, and a small container of sour cream. I also shopped the senior discount day at another store for 10%, $2 off $40 and some other free items. I've also been doing the store surveys and buying a few gift cards for stores wher we shop to earn gas discount points. We were able to fill both vehicles and get the maximum discount of $1 off a gallon for the full 35 gallons saving $35.

    One of the department stores sent me $10 off $10 and $10 off $25 purchase coupons. I was able to get a shirt for my youngest granddaughter for free with the $10 off $10. When I showed it to my daughter, saying how much I liked the sequin design that changed from silver to gold as you ran your hand over it, she told me she would like a pillow like that. The design is a T-Rex and says "Be RAURsome!" So, back to the store I went to get two more shirts so I could make a pillow for that daughter and for another granddaughter, neither of whom wear a child's size shirt, but I think will like the pillows. Both girls are also sometimes hard for me to find gifts for, as well. When I went back to the store, the shirts were on sale for an additional $2 off, making them $7.99, down from $22. I found a set of 2 tops and a pair of pants for a baby shower gift, also reduced from $22 and used the $10 off $25 to get them and the two shirts for less than the original cost of one.

    Happy Mother's Day to you and the other Bluebird moms and grandmas! I'm not sure where besides the U.S. this is celebrated tomorrow, but wish everyone a happy day, regardless.
    Love from Arizona,

  13. Dear Annabel,
    You have been very productive. Your cards are gorgeous.
    Love and hugs,

  14. Dear Annabel and beautiful bluebirds,
    I apologise for my late comment Annabel, I started writing a comment on Friday but forgot to finish it !. You had a great week Annabel, your cards look beautiful , I love them.
    This weeks savings include : I saved $30 on groceries , I also have $10 off my shop next time I shop at Woolworths because of their rewards program.i will count that $10 next week w hen I use it .
    I bought two books off the $2 table at my local news agency , these books are easily worth $20 each so that's a saving of $36 . I received 3 meals and some fruity tea cake from my parents , a saving of approximately $40 . I had subsidised services from Centacare for cleaning and meal prep ( cooking me meals) , a saving of about $100 compared to getting private help. I picked up my new shoes which were made to fit my new orthotics , I had to have them adjusted because they weren't right the first time and I thought the adjustment would cost me about $50 because they had to do a fair bit to fix them , they charged me $15 so a saving of approximately $35 . I had afternoon tea at my grans place instead of going out for Mother's Day , saving about $30 compared to if we went for high tea . I think I better stop there!. Savings this week add up to $171. Thank you for another beautiful blog post Annabel.i hope everyone has a lovely week .love Barb W

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